by Kevin Sterne
My trusted hop-head confidants have been gushing about Mikerphone Brewing, so I decided to pick one up from Beer Temple, my got-to source for beer to revere. Because I have a soft spot for the Harry Chapin song (and because this was a new arrival rec’d by the Beer Temple guy), I decided to go with Cat’s in the CRADLE, a double dry-hopped India pale ale.
So, to be real for a sec: this isn’t a beer style I’ve been seeking out this summer. I’ve written about New England Styles—and I love the style, but had grown bored of it because so many Chicago breweries are doing it. Summer 2017 has been an exploration in pilsners, lagers, saisons and sours. My new favorite brewery is Hopewell, and I live about a 10-minute walk from a draft-poured First Lager.
And if you heard about my 4th of July experience, you know I’ve been shifting towards sessions (meaning: less hops, less malt, less barley, less flavor and less fun). Plus, I’m in the thick, loathsome middle of training for the Chicago triathlon, rendering me a wet blanket. I still cannot avoid seeing massive coverage of this brewery on the my social media sphere, and had, admittedly, been experiencing some #fomo.
Since hop heads have been gushing over Mikerphone, I thought it appropriate to stick to hophead conventions with this review, judging appearance, smell, taste, and offering an overall opinion. Without further ado, let it begin:
Appearance: well, I took fucking pictures, so that’s what it looks like. #nofilter
Smell: Peach fuzz, grapefruit, a fresh summer rain
Mouthfeel: smooth, juicy, drinkable. Goes down like water in a mouth dragged through the desert.
Taste: grapefruit, grapefruit rind, grapefruit pulp, grapefruit seed, grape fruit skin, muted pineapple and mango, and some grapefruit as well.
Overall: This is a high-gravity brew for the fructose-forward hop heads. And as a 25-year old, white male who likes beer, I am that…sometimes—see: above reservations. For the style, this beer checks all the boxes and is damn close to Heady Topper and that tier of India pale ale. So, I guess my qualm is with the style; it doesn’t lend itself to casual drinking or food pairing in the way a lager or wheat beer does. It’s a beverage that shitty-beer drinkers can appreciate because it’s more Gatorade than beer. There’s almost no malt or bitterness to be found. Sometimes that’s good.
Kevin Sterne is a writer and journalist based in Chicago. He writes about music, craft beer and culture here and for Substream Magazine, ANCHR Magazine and other places. His super weird and highly offensive fiction has appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Praxis Magazine, Potluck Mag, Word Eater, Defenestration and many other places you’ve never heard of. Kevin is the creator of a really terrible magazine called LeFawn which you can buy at Shuga Records for pennies on the dollar.